Culture, Music, Plain Speaking

Quote of the Day: From Johnny Not-So-Rotten

John Lydon with his wife Nora Forster in 2011She is loved, and she knows she is loved. And her personality has always been vivacious, outgoing, bright and looking for the best in things–John Lydon

Lydon, sixty-seven years old himself (a year younger than I), was speaking of Nora, his wife of almost half-a century.

A day or two after he uttered those words to a Telegraph reporter, Nora, several years Lydon’s senior, died after a long struggle with Alzheimer’s disease, during the latter part of which he was her dedicated and loving caregiver.

I remember John Lydon from–oh, it must have been around the time he married Nora.

Largely impervious to mainstream popular culture myself, I don’t have all that many memories of the music of my youth.  Rock, heavy metal, punk, disco–none of it.  And, quite frankly and looking back, I find I still prefer its room to its company.

But I do remember Johnny Rotten (so named by one of his bandmates because–during his late teenage years and, due to his poor oral hygiene, his teeth were turning green and black and falling out, one by one).

Johnny Rotten and the Sex Pistols.  Ugh.  No doubt, some of you can find something redemptive or interesting about their music.  I couldn’t get past their name.  Or the introduction, not long after they became famous, of Sid Vicious as a supplementary band member not long after they hit the big time, and before he (allegedly) murdered his girlfriend and died of a heroin overdose. Sic transit gloria mundi.

While Rolling Stone (go figure) has since named the Sex Pistols as Number 58 on the list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time (go figure), around my house they were known as being nasty, filthy, foulmouthed, talentless punks whose disrespectful single God Save the Queen (The fascist regime) should have been binned even before it was released.

I stand by that.

So I was interested to read the Telegraph article.

And to discover that, Johnny Rotten has matured, and that he seems to have avoided, or at least grown out of, the trap of superannuated adolescence and self-pity that so many of his, and my, contemporaries–both famous and not–seem unable to crawl out of.

“All the sadness I had to go through [when Nora became ill] is self-inflicted on myself and I’m seeing the light in it now,” he explained. “In an odd weird way this is actually a gift from God, not a curse. Because it offers enormous self-reflection. And it reminds me of that famous tradition in the Lydon family, ‘Don’t have self-pity – all it does is arm your enemies.’”

Wow.  Isn’t that the truth?

This year, Lydon, along with his most recent group PiL (Public Image Limited) submitted the song “Hawaii” as an entrant to represent Ireland in this year’s Eurovision song contest.  It’s a love song dedicated to his wife.  And it failed to get past the qualifying rounds of the competition:

No matter.  In my eyes, he’s already won.

That’s what happens when you grow up.

All journeys endSome begin againAnd we’re here, you and me

Remember me, I remember youHawaii, HawaiiRemember me, I remember youAloha (aloha)Hawaii

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